We are not good at grieving

Probably over time we will learn more about what caused Jovan Belcher to turn to killing his girlfriend, then driving to the Chiefs training facility and taking his own life.

What puzzles me is the decision for the Chiefs to go on with the game tomorrow. The players apparently want to play. I can understand that to a point. However, what it shows, in my opinion, is our inability to deal with grief. Instead of stopping to process to what happened to a teammate, the opposite thing happened. It is the American thing. We don’t know what to do, so we decide to work.

Somehow, we think it “honors” those have died. We need to stop. We need to grieve. We need to mourn. Our souls hurt. Football… or work… just doesn’t matter. Couldn’t we have the courage to say, “Look… for this day… football just isn’t it. I need to stop and mourn the death of my friend.”

But we work. We “soldier on.”

I just wish we were better at grieving.

Jovan Belcher

We interrupt theological thoughts for some thoughts on … football

Just a couple of thoughts as I continue to be a fan of some awful teams right now.

First of all, the Vikings.

The game against the Bears today and the game against the Buccaneers a few weeks back showed something in the flawed thinking of the offensive coordinator fairly early in the game. Basically the scenario was this: the Vikings are behind by a touchdown and are ripping down the field setting up for a score. They hand off to Adrian Peterson most of the time down the field. He rips through the defense and gets the Vikings down to inside the 20 yard line. Then, the offensive coordinator for some unknown reason, thinks, “Wow, this has been working. We need to do something else.” 

So, instead of handing off to Peterson, they throw the ball. Today, they threw three times, got nowhere, then had the field goal blocked. The Bears went to to beat the Vikings easily. It happened in the Buccaneer game as well.

Then there are the Kansas City Chiefs.

All I can ask is they have the decency to lose every game the rest of the way and hold onto that number one draft pick. If they can’t get a clear shot at a clearly superior QB, then trade that pick for some good picks down the line and get a veteran QB. Oh, and fire the GM and the coach.

All of this, coupled with Notre Dame actually being back in the championship game has given me an Excedrin headache. I’m glad I’m not a huge fan. It could be brutal.

Gladiators

I am a football fan, and it gets harder and harder. One reason it’s hard is I grew up in Kansas City and the Chiefs are a lousy team.

Other than than, though, the violence of the game and the bloodthirst we’ve created as fans has finally reached a point for me where I am not as excited about a football game as I once was.

For the Chiefs, the fans have been fed up with the lack of progress of the team, particularly their quarterback, Matt Cassel. The Chiefs gambled on giving Cassel a huge contract when the guy has hardly any experience. He filled in for Tom Brady one year when Brady went down with an injury (ironically while playing the Chiefs). The Patriots went 11-5 or something like that. But let’s be honest, I could have played quarterback for the Patriots and gone 11-5 that year.

But yesterday, Cassel went down with an injury late in the game and something inevitable happened. The fans at Arrowhead Stadium, the home crowd, cheered. That was ugly. But it is what we’ve produced as a country and culture. It was ugly, but what else could honestly be expected?

Chiefs’ play Eric Winston went on the record after the game ripping the crowd for booing, and rightfully so. Yet, even in his analysis, he got it wrong.

“We are athletes. We are not gladiators,” Winston said. “This isn’t the Roman Colisseum.” (That’s the KC Star spelling, by the way.)

He’s wrong because this is what football HAS come to professionally. It IS bloodsport and it is only a matter of time before we haul a body off the field that goes down because of contact. A high school player this weekend collapsed on the field and later died because of a heart condition.

This is the condition of the game. Right now Winston is upset about fans cheering that a player is injured. Right now pundits will get on the fans for that kind of behavior. But this is the state of the game. This is what fans want. They want hard hits that wear players out in a few years and toss them on the trash heap by the age of 30. They want players they don’t like taken out, even if it’s by injury.

Sorry, Mr. Winston, but you are gladiators.

Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston (74) checked on quarterback Matt Cassel after Cassel took a hard hit from the Baltimore Ravens defense in Sunday